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choosing gili islands

Which Gili Island is for you?

What brings you to the Gili Islands? Are you desperate for an escape away from the hustle and bustle? Or are you looking to party all week and come out as a licensed diver? If you and your summer fling are merely craving a secret getaway from Bali to Gili, all three islands can accommodate every traveler’s wants and needs.

Blessed with pearly beaches, clear waters and azure sky, these three miniature islands are how you would envision heaven on earth. With each having a distinct personality, find out which one is for you.

choosing gili islands

Gili Trawangan: the wild one

The largest, most developed, and lively one out of the three islands, Gili T is perfect if you’re looking to let your hair down and dance the night (or three) away. The island has a welcoming vibe, mostly visited by like-minded crowds looking to mingle and make memorable nights out. The social atmosphere is the massive charm – each night of the week, a different bar or club hosts a different party.

Gili T is also one of the cheapest and safest places to dive with many reputable dive schools to choose from and dive spots to die for. If you’re not into the nightlife scene, the snorkeling, diving, and sunbathe opportunities are aplenty. The best marine life is believed to be on the northern side of the island, while the western side is dotted by serene high-end resorts.

Gili Meno: the romantic one

The smallest of the Gilis, Gili Meno is a perfect honeymoon spot for lovebirds. It arguably offers the best beach and has a definite romantic atmosphere. Different to Gili T, there are only a handful of restaurants and accommodations are fairly limited to exclusive resorts. There are about three dive schools in Gili M. The western side is practically deserted so you can take advantage of having a private beach. The island is mostly about tranquility and relaxation, so if you are one to get bored easily, go for a day trip from Gili T.

Gili Air: the quiet one

Gili Air is the perfect mix of the two. It has sufficient amenities and dive franchises like Gili T but still boasts the peaceful ambiance like Gili M. There is a slight hippy feel to it. Clubbing is not a priority in Gili Air – visitors typically go for the laidback, chilling by the beach type of night. Full moon parties are held each month for Gili Air-goers. The eastern side offers great snorkeling opportunities – you might see clownfish or spot turtles. Its key allure is the authentic, local feel, hence many are hoping that the ongoing development will not take that away from the island.

sunset in gili islands

Motorized vehicles are forbidden on all three Gilis. Getting to the Gili Islands from Bali, however, is easily done with fast boats. Visit Patagonia Xpress for your fast, safe, comfortable fast boat to Gili Trawangan, Meno and Air.

gili swing

Embrace the culture of the Gili Islands (Gili Islands Etiquette)

The Gili Islands are a manifestation of heaven on Earth and many will agree with us on this. However, the lifestyle and culture can be completely foreign from a Western perspective. Gili Air, for example, has unique cultural dynamics that may be challenging to understand for an outsider.

There is no harm in taking a bit of time and effort to familiarize yourself with the Indonesian culture, which has different customs, habits and values wherever you go on the archipelago. It can be wise to gain some insight into the culture prior to or during your visit.

The local population in The Gilis is a mixture of Sasak people hailing from Lombok and families of the original Bugis settlers. The three islands were once virgin tropical playgrounds before their secret came out some years ago by backpackers. Numbers of tourists skyrocketed throughout 2007, with fast boat services from Bali to Gili correspondingly multiplied. While the strange ways of tourists are generally tolerated, there are actions and behaviors to consider to avoid offending the locals.

gili islands swing

Here are several Gili Islands etiquettes to keep in mind:

  • It is considered rude to point with your fingers – if you really need to direct at a place or thing, use your hands like you are presenting it.
  • Indonesian society believes the left hand is used for ‘toilet duties’ and is therefore considered unclean. In Gili Air, it is rude and offensive to hand someone something with your left hand.
  • You may have to remove your shoes when entering a building or someone’s house and wait to be invited to sit if you are a guest.
  • Try to keep your voice to a minimum. Be considerate of the local residents and avoid being rowdy and starting trouble when you’re out drinking, for example.
  • Indonesians highly appreciate if you try to speak their language, even if you only know a couple of words. Get to know them better this way.
  • The Gili residents are predominantly Muslim, which means the dress codes here are different than it is in the Western world. People are moderately clothed with their hair and body typically covered. Please be respectful and don’t expose too much of your skin. Cover yourself with a sarong when going into a village or a shop and refrain from sunbathing topless.

fast boat gili trawangan

Getting to the Gili Islands from Bali is highly accessible via fast boats. Patagonia Xpress provides fast, safe, comfortable fast boat services from Bali to the Gilis and surrounding islands.

scuba diving

GIli Island Turtles

The Gili Islands are a paradise for sea turtles, as well as holiday makers. You can even find endangered species such as green sea turtles…